The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (or Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide) is an annually published comic book price guide widely considered the primary authority on the subject of American comic book grading and pricing in the hobby/industry.
Many observers tie in the growth of the direct market distribution system and comic book specialty shops to the general acceptance of Overstreet's annual guide as a standardized inventory and pricing system.〔
Begun in 1970 by Robert M. Overstreet as a guide for fellow fans of Golden Age and Silver Age comics, the Overstreet guide has expanded to cover virtually the entire history of the American comics publication as far back as the Victorian Age and Platinum Age. The annual edition also covers promotional comics (giveaways & advertising) and "big little books," while continually updating new publications and market reports that cover the prior year of market activity.
Overstreet's annual guide to the comic book collecting hobby has itself become a collectible, and since the 1980s each edition of the ''Price Guide'' includes a page listing collector's values for older editions, with hardcover editions, in particular, selling for a premium. Currently, the ''Price Guide'' is published in three formats: hardcover, softcover, a larger, ring-bound edition and an electronic edition, often with multiple covers for each version.
== History ==
Robert M. Overstreet grew up as a comic book, coin, and Indian arrowhead collector. In the 1960s, after abandoning a project to create an arrowhead price guide, Overstreet turned his attention to comics, which had no definitive guide.〔("Who is Robert M. Overstreet?" ) Arrowheads.com. Accessed Nov. 3, 2011.〕
Comic back-issue prices had stabilized by the end of the 1960s,〔Thompson, Maggie. ("November 1970: Mint Never Meant So Much Before," ) "The 1900s: 10 biggest events from 100 years in comics," ''Comics Buyer's Guide'' #1365 (Jan. 14, 2000).〕 and, Jerry Bails, who had recently published the ''Collector’s Guide to the First Heroic Age'', was considering creating a comic book price guide. He was contacted by Overstreet, who was doing the same thing. Bails' extensive notes, supplemented by Overstreet's study of dealer listings, "became a backbone to the ''Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide''."〔Ray Bottorff, Jr., quoted in "With a Little Help From His Friends...", ''Alter Ego'' vol. 3, #25 (June 2003), pp. 14-19.〕
Under the auspices of Overstreet Publications, the first ''Comic Book Price Guide'' was published in November 1970. Priced at $5, saddle-stitched and published in a print run of 1000 (a second edition of 800 was released subsequently),〔("The Semi-Secret Origins of the ''Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide''," ) Scoop (Mar. 15, 2003).〕 the book included 218 pages of listings. Among other things, Overstreet's guide included inventory lists, and it instantly became an invaluable resource tool for comic book collectors and dealers.〔 By 1976, the guide had achieved national distribution.〔
An early decision was made by author to exclude the niche of underground comix, an adult-oriented expression of the genre that Mr. Overstreet had no interest in documenting, for reasons he has never made public, despite the book being promoted by its publisher as "the most complete listing of comics from the 1500s to the present."
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